Selective transport through the nuclear pore complex (NPC) requires nucleoporins containing natively unfolded phenylalanine-glycine (FG) domains. Several differing models for their dynamics within the pore have been proposed. We characterize the behavior of the FG nucleoporins in vivo using polarized fluorescence microscopy. Using nucleoporins tagged with green fluorescent protein along their FG domains, we show that some of these proteins are ordered, indicating an overall orientational organization within the NPC. This orientational ordering of the FG domains depends on their specific context within the NPC, but is independent of active transport and cargo load. For most nups, behavior does not depend on the FG motifs. These data support a model whereby local geometry constrains the orientational organization of the FG nups. Intriguingly, homologous yeast and mammalian proteins show conserved behavior, suggesting functional relevance. Our findings have implications for mechanistic models of NPC transport. © 2013 Biophysical Society.